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Cheekpiece of a horse bridle in the form of a mythical creature
Place of Origin: Iran, Luristan region
Date: approx. 800-700 BCE
Historical Period: Iron Age III (800-600 BCE)
Materials: Bronze
Dimensions: H. 7 in x W. 6 7/8 in x D. 1 1/8 in, H. 17.8 cm x W. 17.5 cm x D. 2.9 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: West Asian Art
Collection: Metal Arts
Object Number: B60B17+
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 7
Culture: Luristan

Description

Label: A sphinx, with horns and a predator's head at its wing tip, tramples a creature that resembles an antelope. The combination of different animal features, as in the sphinx's wing, is characteristic of ancient bronzes found in the Luristan region of western Iran. The precise symbolism of these composite creatures is unclear. It is thought that the people who produced these bronzes were nomads, whose survival would have depended on certain animals. This object is one of a pair of a cheekpiece for a horse. The two pieces were connected by a metal rod that served as the bit, passing through the circular hole in each cheekpiece. The mate of this cheekpiece (identical, but a mirror image) is in the Louvre in Paris.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Near Eastern Masterpieces", San Antonio Museum of Art, 5/16/1987 - 1/4/1988
Label: A sphinx, with horns and a predator's head at its wing tip, tramples a creature that resembles an antelope. The combination of different animal features, as in the sphinx's wing, is characteristic of ancient bronzes found in the Luristan region of western Iran. The precise symbolism of these composite creatures is unclear. It is thought that the people who produced these bronzes were nomads, whose survival would have depended on certain animals. This object is one of a pair of a cheekpiece for a horse. The two pieces were connected by a metal rod that served as the bit, passing through the circular hole in each cheekpiece. The mate of this cheekpiece (identical, but a mirror image) is in the Louvre in Paris.
Exhibition History: "Near Eastern Masterpieces", San Antonio Museum of Art, 5/16/1987 - 1/4/1988